Tuesday, July 29, 2008

1 Ostrich Egg, 6 friends and a whole lot of wine

Posted by BAKE-EN at 3:15 PM 1 comments Links to this post

1 ostrich egg, 6 friends and a whole lot of wine equals a whole lot of food and good time had by all.

Last week Mike and LT became the proud parents of a very big Ostrich egg's days were numbered.

Mike told Joe about the egg over the weekend and they immediately "hatched" a plan of attack.

Take said egg, take drill/knife; make countless egg dishes. That folks, is exactly what happened.

We arrived at Mike and LT's with dessert, wine and some "sides" for the egg. Mike just about bought out the grocery store with items that might go well egg. With ingredients combined we had the makings of 3 very delicious frittatas, as well as hash browns and some roasted cauliflower.

But first, how to crack the egg. When we arrived, LT plugged her drill charger into the wall "just incase we needed it." After reviewing a YouTube video, and 5 people giving advice; Mike decided to go the old fashion way; knife and mallet please.

The egg contained an enormous amount of egg substance. Apparently, one ostrich egg is the equivalent of 2 dozen chicken eggs. We had a lot of egg to work with.

Our first frittata contained tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. After cooking it on the stovetop till almost set; we topped it off with some more mozzarella and some delicious pancetta. It turned out great.

The next frittata was vegetarian (but certainly NOT vegan). It contained broccoli, peppers, onions, mushrooms, goat cheese and a little mozzarella. Before we put it under the broiler we added some cheddar cheese to the top. The resulting frittata was loaded with veggies and 3 cheeses.

Though we were all getting full, the wine was starting to kick in so we decided to make one more. The last frittata contained bacon, potatoes, goat cheese, green onions, tomatoes and thyme. It was delicious as well. After eating that, we were all full.

But then there was dessert:



(Clearly we found room for dessert, though we forgot about the ice cream)

We drank 3 bottles of wine, but I only got the names of two. Both were from Schweiger Vineyards (where Joe works). We had Mr. Pink (an amazing Rose) and 2004 Cab (great as always).


Thanks to Mike for buying such an interesting ingredient, and for sharing it with us.

TWD Summer Fruit Galette

Posted by BAKE-EN at 2:41 PM 16 comments Links to this post

Galette's are one of the pastries that inspired me to be a pastry chef. Don't get me wrong, I've had lots of inspiration from my mom, some aunts and my memere; but the first time I made a galette (Jacques Pepin's recipe) was an eye opener. Jacques recipe is very simple, the dough is a pate brisee, and you top the rolled out dough with apples, a tiny bit of sugar and a little butter (of course!). After you bake it, you glaze the crust with an apricot cognac mixture. The result is the most beautiful, simple dessert ever. The first time I made it; I really understood what a great pastry was, and from there I was inspired to try different recipes, fruits, techniques, etc.

Michelle from Michelle in Colorado Springs selected Dorie’s Summer Fruit Galette as this weeks TWD recipe. I was excited to make it because I’ve never made a galette with custard in it, and as I mentioned above I love galettes. First I made the dough which was quite simple. Surprisingly, I had shortening in the house (Joe bought it to season our cast iron pans); so I followed the ingredient list. The only change I made was after processing the butter and flour, I transferred the mixture to a bowl and added the ice water; mixing by hand. I did this because I didn’t want my butter pieces to get any smaller, and I almost always finish my doughs by hand. Here’s the resulting dough, pretty nice huh?

While the dough was chilling I went to the grocery store, and I picked up some yellow and white peaches, strawberries and blueberries.

Joe was in Napa last week on a business trip, and he came home with two preserves from LouLou’s Garden. He picked up Rangpur Lime Marmalade and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. I’m also fortunate to have received some rose petal jam from the bakery I will be working at soon called Sofra. I also had a little bit of peach preserves left over that I made last summer. As you can tell by the number of preserves at my fingertips, I was about to have a lot of fun.

I decided to make four small square shaped galettes. At Sofra we will be making some square shaped baked goods (like English muffins, cakes, etc), so I thought I may as well “get my square on” now. The flavors I decided on were white peach with rose petal jam, strawberry, blueberry and yellow peach with rose petal jam, strawberry with strawberry rhubarb jam and finally yellow peach with peach preserves.

I didn’t have graham crackers in the house, so I ground up some oats and added a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar to it; to act as the absorbing agent.

The galettes came together quickly. After 20 or so minutes in the oven, I took them out and added the very simple custard to the galettes. I ended up adding about 2 teaspoons to each galette. After 14 minutes in the oven the custard was set and they were ready to come out.

Once they cooled, we took them to Mike and LT’s for a very special dinner party. Last week Mike purchased an Ostrich egg, so we had an Ostrich egg party last night.

Check out my next post for more on that. That was a lot of egg (about 2 dozen).

The galettes were delicious.

The two favorites were the strawberry and strawberry, blueberry, peach.

The peach galettes were great as well.

The strawberries I purchased were so amazingly good that those galettes tipped the scale towards extraordinarily delicious.

Jacque’s recipe will always be my favorite, but I loved this galette recipe was well. I guess Dorie’s recipe will truly be my summer galette recipe, and I’ll save Jacque’s for the other seasons.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TWD Cherry Blueberry Rhubarb Cobbler

Posted by BAKE-EN at 9:56 PM 14 comments Links to this post

Today was something else. It started off amazing, and it ended not so much.

Yesterday I drove from Boston to Burlington, Vermont. Joe's away in Napa working at his winery, so I thought it would be fun to spend some time with my family for a few days. The drive was long, but once I hit Stowe, the clouds cleared and it was a gorgeous day in Vermont. Green, green grass; amazing blue skies and mountains lining the landscape. It was one of those days when I wonder why I don't live in VT (then I remember the aweful winter weather very quickly). After a nice visit with my family, I went to bed.

I didn't wake up till 10:00. That's something of a miracle as I barely ever sleep in. In fact, I never sleep through the night. Last night was different though, I went to bed around 11:00 and woke up at 10:00. I felt great, and amazingly the weather was still nice. I decided to go blueberry picking.

Berry picking in Charlotte, Vermont is something I've been doing with my family forever. It's something of a zen experience for me; I truly love picking blueberries. We either go to Pelky's or Charlotte Berry Farm. Today I decided to go to Charlotte Berry Farm. There were both raspberries and blueberries available to pick, and they also sell honey. It was a beautiful day, and there were lots of dark blueberries. After four pounds of blueberries in my bucket (and one pound in my stomach); I decided it was time to go home and make cobbler.

I'm fortunate because my parents have rhubarb growing in their backyard. I picked 4 stalks and I decided to use the fresh berries in addition to the cherries. Dorie's cobbler recipe was very simple. You simply add some sugar, cornstarch and ginger to the fruit and mix it. Then you make the cobbler topping; which is essentially a biscuit-like topping. Once that's made, you put your fruit mixture in the baking dish and top it with 20 cobbler balls. Then you bake it…well, you bake it as long as smoke and fire isn't billowing out of your oven!

Yes, that's right. Smoke and fire before I even put anything in the oven. Something went very wrong in my parents (aweful) GE oven. They have had nothing but problems with it since they bought it about 4 years ago. My parents keep their oven very clean. There was nothing inside of it, but it just started smoking and then flames shot out of it. This incident was the last straw for my dad. He pulled the oven out from under the countertop, and said they're never using it again.
That being said, the cobbler was never baked. It's now wrapped in the freezer for my mom to bake off once they get a new oven!

Frustrating end to the day? Yes, but at least I was able to share this day with my family! When my mom finally bakes the cobbler off, I'll report back. I'm sure it'll be great.

Here's a picture of the fruit for the cobbler:

The cobbler assembled and ready to bake:

The world's worst oven, may it rest in peace (with flame and smoke marks!):

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

TWD Double Crusted Blueberry Pie

Posted by BAKE-EN at 3:20 PM 16 comments Links to this post

Amy of South in Your Mouth selected Double Crusted Blueberry Pie as this week's TWD recipe. I had every intention to make this pie myself until the heat and humidity in my apartment reached the level of, too hot to bake. I swear if I turned on the oven my husband would either:

  1. Have me sent to an insane asylum, or
  2. Called a divorce lawyer

Luckily when I lived in California some of my pastry friends and I would have baking parties. We would bake either certain types of items, or different items from the same cookbook. The gods must have been shining on me the day we had a pie party, and my good friend Wendy made Dorie's Double Crusted Blueberry pie. Even better, I had my camera and took notes because I was planning on blogging about it. Nothing like a cross country move to get in the way of intentions to blog J

That day 5 of us got together, and we had a number of different pies. Annie made an apricot crumb pie while she was at work from random ingredients she had on hand. Darcie made two pies, one a coconut macadamia cream from Pie Pie Pie: Easy Homemade Favorites by John Phillip Carroll, and a peach raspberry pie which she created herself. Erin made an apricot pie which she "baked" in her (smoker) egg because her oven died that week. She found her recipe in Provence: The Beautiful Cookbook by Richard Olney. I made a peach pie with cream cheese crust from The Pie and Pastry Bible.

Overall, we liked the Blueberry pie the best. The flavor and crust were awesome. Dorie get's a lot of credit for this recipe, but really Wendy is an amazing baker (chocolatier and slave to TFL as well-he he); so I'm sure she added some special secret touches. Wendy has a gift for producing the most amazing dessert items in a fraction of the time it would take a normal person. As for the other pies, Darcie's coconut macadamia cream pie was a real standout. Erin and Annie's pies were great with amazing fruit flavor. My pie was good, but I hate how complicated the directions were for the cream cheese dough…a bit much if you ask me J. The peach flavor was a great compliment to the cream cheese dough though.

Please enjoy the pictures below:

Dorie/Wendy's blueberry pie:

Erin's apricot pie:

Darcie's coconut macadamia cream and peach raspberry pies:

Annie's apricot crumb pie:

My Peach Pie:

Slices of all the pies:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

TWD Apple Cheddar Scones

Posted by BAKE-EN at 10:45 PM 12 comments Links to this post

Karina of The Floured Apron chose apple cheddar scones as this weeks TWD recipe. The heat and humidity in Boston this week has been awful. I had to wake up at 5:00 to make these because I knew my kitchen wouldn't be too hot then.

This recipe is really easy, and I followed it pretty much as written. The only changes I had to make were I finely chopped a granny smith apple in place of the dried apple. I also pureed apple in my food processor because I didn't have apple juice. I was afraid the pureed apple wouldn't result in enough liquid, but it worked out fine. The only comment I have on making these is expect a very sticky dough. It's hard to shape into a rectangle because it's so sticky. I ended up shaping it into a rectangle and cutting them with my bench scraper. The resulting scones would not have been pretty; so I heavily floured a round cookie cutter, and I squished the scones into that to get a round shape.

I really liked these scones. I wish the apple flavor was more pronounced, but I'm sure if I had used dried apples it would have been. The scones were extremely tender and delicious warm. Next time I make these, I'll grate an extra ¼ cup of cheese, and sprinkle cheese on top of the scones before baking.

Side note, I'm having major problems with blogger and my computer. I haven't been able to post more than a couple of comments on other people's blogs without getting mulitiple error messages. I've contacted blogger, and they're working on the problem. I have been looking at everyone's blogs though, and everyone is so inspiring. Hopefully I can get this problem fixed soon, and I'll be back to commenting on your beautiful work!

Here are some pictures:

The chopped apple:

Dry Ingredients:

The pureed apple:

Before going in the oven:

Wow, the baking soda and powder sure worked:

Apple Cheddar Scones in all their glory:


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